at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Pretoria - Somebody ought to remind Orlando Pirates that the age old refrain goes: 'if you can't beat them join them' and not 'if you can't beat them, buy them'.
Platinum Stars were responsible for much of the heartache and, misery Pirates endured last season having beaten them in two consecutive cup finals, the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout. Perhaps seeing that beating them has proven a dubious preposition, the Buccaneers have opted to throw money at the problem and buy out the competition instead.
The first transaction was made this week when Pirates bought defensive midfield talisman Issa Sarr from Stars and tied him down to a three year contract. With a Pirates and Stars rematch on the cards in the first round of the MTN8 next season it appears that the earlier wants to ensure that lightning does not strike twice.
With the signing, Pirates have managed to fill the gapping void left by key midfield ace Andile Jali who jumped ship last season to join Belgian Pro League side KV Oostende. The 27 year-old Sarr was instrumental, playing at the heart of the midfield for Stars during the double cup final success over Pirates.
Media speculation is rife that Pirates are also aiming make a swoop on another Stars gem in the form of Mogakolodi Ngele. Reports have been doing the rounds as far back as February that Pirates were keen on a transfer deal for Ngele, a Botswana international.
Ngele during the Telkom Knockout final turned into a one man wrecking crew, as he almost single handily secured the R4.25 million winners cheque for Stars. In the final the 23 year-old Ngele in an inspired off the bench exhibition entered the game in the 66th minute and scored both goals for his team in the 2-1 come back win over Pirates.
Ngele's agent Mike Makaab said he has been in contact with Pirates over his client's possible transfer. “It's no secret that Pirates are interest in him (Ngele). We have been in talks with them but nothing is final at the moment. We want the best deal for the player. And the best deal doesn't mean the best money, but one that will incorporate a good package of course and his ambitions of playing in Europe some time in the near future,” Makaab said.
Stars manager Senzo Mazingiza said Ngele has a running contract with the club and transfer negotiations for players are yet to be finalised.
“Ngele is our player and nothing has changed. There has been interest shown by other teams but I cannot reveal any names at this juncture. We are currently in discussions with players and clubs, about a number of issues whether it be players coming in or going out. It's an on-going process and negotiations are under way at the moment,” Mazingiza said on Thursday by telephone.
With many of the players on holiday and some on national duty, Mazingiza said it's anything but business as usual. “People are on holiday. It's a challenge to conduct business when people are away once the players get back we will be able to divulge further information. In due course we will disclose information once talks are concluded,” he said
Pirates administrator Floyd Mbele would not be drawn into transfer speculations but did say some news will begin to unravel in a couple of weeks time. “We have nothing for you at this point. We don't discuss player names before acquiring them so I can't tell you much,” he said.